Raising a child with special needs can bring immeasurable joy and fulfillment, but it is not without its challenges, including the financial strain that often accompanies specialized care and support. In this blog, we will explore the costs associated with raising a special needs child and highlight some updated resources available to help families defray these expenses.
Understanding the Financial Burden:
According to a study by the Brookings Institution, the average cost of raising a child in the US today to the age of 18 is $310,605. That’s not a small sum, but that cost can quadruple when you have a child with special needs. The financial burden of raising a child with special needs can vary depending on various factors such as the type and severity of the condition, required therapies, assistive devices, and educational support. For example, according to a study published by Autism Speaks, the average lifetime cost of caring for an individual with autism can range from $1.4 million to $2.4 million, depending on the level of support needed.
Fatherly Magazine reports the following as some of the annual costs you might need to consider:
- Occupational Therapy: $5,000 to $10,000
- Behavioral Therapy: $10,000
- Life Skills Therapy: $4,000
- Private Schooling: Up to $20,000
- Private Caregiver: $9,000
Financial Resources and Support:
Luckily, there are resources that can help defray some of these costs for special needs families.
Here are our TOP 5 Resources:
Government Assistance Programs: Several government programs offer financial support to families with special needs children. For instance, in the United States, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provides monthly cash benefits to children with disabilities based on their family’s income and resources. Medicaid offers healthcare coverage and waivers that provide additional services not covered by typical insurance.
Education and Early Intervention Services: Public schools are required to provide free and appropriate education to children with disabilities through an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan, which may include specialized services, therapies, and accommodations. Early Intervention programs cater to infants and toddlers with developmental delays, providing assessment and therapy services at no or reduced cost.
Nonprofit Organizations: Numerous nonprofit organizations focus on supporting families with special needs children. Examples include Autism Speaks, National Down Syndrome Society, and United Cerebral Palsy. These organizations provide financial assistance, support networks, information, and advocacy resources.
- Private Insurance and Medical Grants: Many private insurance plans cover a portion of medical expenses related to the child’s condition. Additionally, some organizations and foundations offer medical grants and scholarships specifically tailored to supporting families with special needs children.
- Tax Benefits and Credits: Families may be eligible for tax deductions and credits. For instance, in the United States, the Disabled Access Credit and the Child and Dependent Care Credit can help offset some costs related to the child’s care and medical expenses.
While the costs of raising a special needs child can be significant, families should know that they are not alone in this journey. Numerous resources and support systems exist to help alleviate the financial burden. From government assistance programs to nonprofit organizations and tax benefits, families can access various avenues to defray costs and provide the best possible care for their child. Remember to research and consult with professionals to identify the available resources and support networks in your specific region. Together, we can ensure that every child receives the care they deserve without undue financial hardship.